Cisco raised the benchmark for corporate events with a visually exciting, 360° experience with Cisco Live, held June 25 to 29 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The in-the-round, arena-style venue, hosted an educational and training event for IT, networking, and communications professionals produced by Go! Experience Design, with lighting and visual design by John Featherstone of Lightswitch and scenic design by Johniene Papandreas of Valdreas Design. Read more about the production design and lighting design.
BBA Systems was hired to provide engineering services, system design, and audio equipment rental for Cisco Live. “Initial design for the project began about four months prior to load-in,” says BBA audio project manager Dino Ruggerio. “This project had multiple challenges: designing a visually inconspicuous system that achieved seamless coverage, high speech intelligibility, and consistent SPL over the audience, all while simultaneously not impinging on the sightlines of the visual elements or the four massive, double-sided LED walls.”
System designer James Book points out that as BBA is an exclusive user of L-Acoustics products, so all modeling and design for the show was done in Soundvision, which allowed the sound team to produce a highly detailed 3D model of the arena to create the design for the room. “By using Soundvision, we were able to achieve very accurate results quickly, and it allowed us to do basic system tuning and alignment offsite. Soundvision was also used to check for sightline and scenic element clearance. For a show of this size with twenty-four hangs of PA, this was a life saver,” he admits.
An extensive Dante network was also part of the set-up. “For Cisco Live, there were many different areas with a variety of routing requirements,” says Dante network engineer Philip Reynolds. “The BBA team is a big user of the Audinate Dante protocol. With this network, we can quickly deploy solutions to match any requirements of the show. The whole network is comprised of seven locations, all interconnected with Cisco network switches, with over a mile of opticalCON Quad fiber. We had a total of eighteen Cisco switches running between primary and secondary networks.”
Over the network, there were five virtual local area networks [VLANs] running Dante audio, L-Acoustics Network Manager control, RF control, intercom control/audio, network infrastructure management, and a utility VLAN. “For IP management and firewall, we use the Cisco Meraki MX64 security appliance. Multiple access points allowed the systems engineer to adjust the PA system and the A2 ability to cue input channels and manage intercom throughout the venue,” Reynolds explains.
The consoles for Cisco Live consisted of two Yamaha CL5s, one located at FOH and one in the broadcast truck. A Yamaha QL5 was also used backstage for redundancy and monitoring channels on the Dante network. In addition to the Yamaha consoles, a number of Yamaha Rio and Focusrite RedNet devices completed the Dante network.
“To interface with the broadcast truck, we used a Focusrite D64R Madi interface with single mode fiber. With this, we could transport all audio channels and four-wire intercom to and from the truck via a fiber link,” notes Ruggiero.
For intercom, BBA deployed extensive Clear-Com HelixNet and Freespeak II systems. “A total of four HelixNet main stations filled with five four-wire cards and three two-wire cards were spread throughout the venue linked via fiber,” says intercom tech Almir Lejlic. “More than 40 HelixNet hard-wired, and 25 Freespeak II stations, were ultimately utilized.”
Selected Audio Gear
Provided by BBA
102 L-Acoustics KARA
64 L-Acoustics K2
28 L-Acoustics SB28
16 L-Acoustics X8
24 L-Acoustics LA-RAK
20 Shure UHF-R Wireless Microphone
1 L-Acoustics Soundvision
2 Yamaha CL5 Console
1 Focusrite D64R Madi Interface
Clear-Com HelixNet and Freespeak II Intercom Systems
Dino Ruggiero, A1/Project Manager
James Book, System Designer and Engineer
Philip Reynolds, Dante and Network Engineer
Almir Lejlic, A2/Intercom Tech